Facebook Home: How smartphones and tablets are now lifestyle devices
Posted by Marco Barbieri, Account Manager at ORM on 05/04/2013
Follow Marco on Twitter
Just over forty years ago the first mobile phone was created. It was a clunky 9 inch tall product that supported one specific task: calling; it was just about communication. Saying that, this relatively simple device changed the world and heralded the highly connected world of the mobile internet.
Time has passed, technology improved and we have moved slowly from bricks to smartphones and tablets, we connected them to the web, we built apps, introduced touch screens and we are now moving inevitably towards gesture interfaces. The array of applications now available allows us to do pretty much everything useful with our mobiles, from buying groceries to setting up calendar appointments, and syncing notes across multiple devices - most of all they seem to help us interact with the world around us.
In 2013, mobile devices seem to be going back to their original sizes: huge screens are a must and the thin line between 7 inch tablets and 5 inch smartphones is getting blurred. While we are waiting to find the optimal size for all our needs the main point is that the reason behind this shift is the fact that we rely on our mobile devices more and more and less on desktop computing.
Mobile devices are now lifestyle devices at the centre of our everyday life: we use them to connect with friends and get updates from the world around us. With the introduction of NFC and other new technologies they are the way to connect online and offline experience.
Whether you like it or not, tech companies are capitalising on this so that Google, Ubuntu, Samsung, Mozilla and Windows are competing to build their own ecosystems in order to hook up users from throughout their online presence. It does not come as a surprise that in a recent article for Business Insider, Hoot Suite CEO Ryan Holmes mentioned the issue of web fragmentation and the growing difficulty of having a smooth interaction between apps these days.
Could Facebook miss the boat? Obviously not.
There has been a lot of talk of a potential Facebook Phone as another player to enter the market. This was a scary thought: would you really have all of your communication filtered via Facebook?
As Gartner Analyst Carolina Milanesi mentioned on Tech Crunch “it makes sense for the company to “enable Facebook in the best possible way” on smartphones” rather than creating a whole new device. And so the end result is Facebook Home, a set of apps built to overtake the Android homescreen in order to capitalise on the idea of lifestyle device. As Mark Zuckenberg said the new tool revamps any Android phone to make it about ”people, not apps”.
This is definitely an interesting move by Facebook who are now trying to become the hub of your online presence, not only on one device, but on all of them (at least the Android ones for now...). While older users may find it difficult to move away from their existing network of Facebook friends in favour of another Social network, younger users are more likely to look for other channels. Consequently, recent innovations such as the introduction of the Graph Search and the more visual News Feed, look like Facebook’s take on creating their own ecosystem and add value to their services in order to not only maintain their customer base but increase it as well.
We will see how the new Facebook Home will work from the 12th of April when a limited release will be available via Google Play for selected devices. The new hub looks definitely sleek, but will this be enough to hook you up?